Much of what’s going wrong in science today is too much enforcement, too little reasoned argument.
Recently, we ran a note about a dissident science writer, Gary Taubes, and some dissident scientists arguing for a different approach to the causes of obesity. Another well-known science writer, Ross Pomeroy, says he’s wrong:
Taubes isn’t entirely off with his widely-read musings on low-carbohydrate diets. There certainly exists evidence that different nutrients and compounds in the foods we eat alter our metabolisms, but the effects are simply not large enough to drive significant weight loss or weight gain. What fuels weight gain is eating more calories than your body uses. What leads to weight loss is eating fewer calories. That’s what decades-worth of evidence demonstrates.
Taubes argues that if this is true, Americans – who hear the “eat less and move more” messaging constantly – should be getting thinner over time, not fatter. But there’s a simpler explanation: Americans have yet to put this advice into widespread action. Part of the reason might be that they would rather try fad diets like the one that Taubes and many others keep writing so much about.Ross Pomeroy, “Gary Taubes Can’t Accept He’s Wrong About the Science of Obesity” at RealClearScience (September 17, 2021)
Fair comment. And it is a good thing we get to hear both sides of the argument. That is not happening often enough. People who complain about popular doubt or denial of science are too often among the first to demand that only their side of the argument be published — thus fueling the very thing they complain about.
Obesity is a serious business because — thanks to a successful war on hunger — it is becoming a worldwide problem. Jenny Craig probably doesn’t have the answer. 😉
You may also wish to read: At Stat News: Science has got obesity all wrong A science writer reflects on the way paradigms work. If he’s right, a popular paradigm it was dangerous to doubt will come under fire.